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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Garmin GPS Questions

Old 01-12-11, 07:45 PM
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Garmin GPS Questions

I am planning to get a used Garmin Edge 205 on eBay for under $100.

The general consensus seems to be to buy a 305, but here's my thinking:

1. I don't care about heart rate or cadence, and I'm pretty sure I never will. I also don't like extra stuff connected to my bike or body. I'm willing to be convinced, but I have never cared about those.

2. What I do want to do is go on a ride, and come home and create a map showing where I rode (like this). I realize that the 205 doesn't have a barometric altimeter, but I'm guessing that based on it's map data, it can give me the after-the-fact data on ascent and descent. Correct?

Thanks,
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Old 01-12-11, 09:38 PM
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I use a small program that I paid about ten bucks for. It works on a lot of phones such as my Droid. As you can see once you get to the link it has calories, elevation, speed and a few other things. Trimble Outdoors The program is called AllSportGps. I can keep the phone in my back pocket or what I did recently was bought a handle bar mount. The web page for Allsport is www.trimbleoutdoors.com
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Old 01-12-11, 09:44 PM
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The new Edge 500 will do that without a problem. Garmin Connect is free and I use it extensively for all of my ride logs. I also like having the GPS map printout.

The Edge 500 should be somewhere around $150 without the HR/Cadence attachment. You can get it pretty cheaply online at ProBikeKit.
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Old 01-12-11, 09:47 PM
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Sorry about the bad pricing advice. I just checked and it's $236 (plus 10% off of that) for just the Edge 500. That's double what you want to spend.

Oh, I wasn't a believer in HR or Cadence. It has changed the way I ride my bike. I couldn't live without either now.
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Old 01-12-11, 10:20 PM
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Cadence changed the way I ride.

Improved my distance efficient by leaps and bounds.
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Old 01-12-11, 10:36 PM
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Go for a Forerunner 305. They are selling for $130 new (maybe less, I didn't look that hard). They will do everything you want right now. They come with a heart strap which you don't have to use. But if you do change your mind, you can, and you can also add a speed/cadence sensor if you want. If you don't want to wear it as a watch you can get the quick release kit which mounts it on your bars (and actually makes a better watch strap, too).
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Old 01-12-11, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Accordion
Sorry about the bad pricing advice. I just checked and it's $236 (plus 10% off of that) for just the Edge 500. That's double what you want to spend.

Oh, I wasn't a believer in HR or Cadence. It has changed the way I ride my bike. I couldn't live without either now.
I got it for $150 at Performance just before the Holidays...I would snag a 500 over a 205...My 2 cents.
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Old 01-12-11, 11:02 PM
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yes GarminConnect will fill in the elevation for you. go for it, great deal. wish I'd held onto the 305 I picked up for $135
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Old 01-13-11, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Accordion
Sorry about the bad pricing advice. I just checked and it's $236 (plus 10% off of that) for just the Edge 500. That's double what you want to spend.

Oh, I wasn't a believer in HR or Cadence. It has changed the way I ride my bike. I couldn't live without either now.
How did you use the data to change how you ride?
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Old 01-13-11, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by mlamb01
How did you use the data to change how you ride?
I rode with a friend who is an accomplished cyclist. Mind you, at this point I already had 1700 miles on my bike. He was amazed at how slow I was spinning. I had no cardio and my lungs were burning. My legs always ached - especially my left knee. I usually stayed in the big front chainring unless I had to do some major climbing. He told me "You are a strong rider but you're going about it all wrong. Get a HR monitor and cadence ASAP. Shoot for 90+ RPM and see what happens."

I bought the Edge 500 kit the next day from PBK. I had it in a week.

First ride - 65RPM average! I was shocked!

I shot for 90 the next ride and promptly puked. Couldn't even average 80.

It took some time but I soon was at 85, then 90, then 95 - now 100 is normal with bouts of 105rpm averages over a couple of hours. Nothing hurts anymore. I'm in the small chainring a lot. My cardio is through the roof. I can spin at 100rpm for three hours with no ill effects. No leg pain whatsover.

I don't even need to look at it anymore. I know when I'm at 90, 95, 100, or 110. I know my heartrate from how hard I am breathing. I seriously know 150, 160, 170 and 180. Oh, and I REALLY know 187 because that's the point I start seeing stars.

Down 22 pounds since I started using the cadence/HR monitor. I will admit one thing - it takes some of the pleasure out of bike rides. It turns it into an exercise moreso than a sightseeing trip for me but I'm okay with that. I bought a 2011 Surly CrossCheck and only have my old Cateye Strada on it. I occasionally check my speed but that's it. I try to do a two hour ride once a week on it.

Kind of a smell-the-flowers ride.
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Old 01-13-11, 08:33 PM
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I don't even need to look at it anymore. I know when I'm at 90, 95, 100, or 110. I know my heartrate from how hard I am breathing.
That's kind of my rationale for not spending the extra for the cadence and HRM. I've calculated my cadence and HR now and then by counting cycles/beats, and I think I know where I am. That and not liking to put little things on my bike. That's one of my reasons for getting a GPS: no doohickey on the fork and no dohickey on the spokes.

In any case I just bought a Edge 205 for $99 from a fellow bikeforums guy who told me, here, that he had one to sell, (before the moderators made him remove his post).
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Old 01-13-11, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl
That's kind of my rationale for not spending the extra for the cadence and HRM. I've calculated my cadence and HR now and then by counting cycles/beats, and I think I know where I am. That and not liking to put little things on my bike. That's one of my reasons for getting a GPS: no doohickey on the fork and no dohickey on the spokes.

In any case I just bought a Edge 205 for $99 from a fellow bikeforums guy who told me, here, that he had one to sell, (before the moderators made him remove his post).

Be careful with this one. That was my impetus initially for getting a GPS-based device versus the standard spoke-magnet/sensor combination. I hated that crap on my bike.

The Edge 500 defaults to using the magnet and sensor and if they are not present it will use just the GPS. I've heard from the Garmin forums that it is miserably inaccurate. Some people said it was spot on with the magnet readings and others said it was 10-20% off. I'm not certain because I always have had the sensor and it's always been spot-on compared to what my Cateye Strada produced.

You might want to research that a bit if it's of concern to you. I'm an exact-numbers kind of guy so it was important to me. I was a physicist by trade so those things I'm still anal about.
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Old 01-14-11, 01:36 PM
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That's a valid concern. But here's a review from an Amazon purchaser:

***** Addressing accuracy concerns..., June 10, 2007 By
Daniel Morrison (New Mexico, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)


This review is from: Garmin Edge 205 GPS-Enabled Cycling Computer (Electronics)
I got my 205 this weekend, and after reading reviews here, I was concerned about the accuracy, especially when elevation is involved. To this end, I left my Cat Eye Mity 8 on the bike for the first ride so that I could compare the two. Before I actually used the Edge on the bike, I updated the software from the Garmin website. There are two updates you need to install - the GPS firmware, and the device firmware. The ride I went on was a 33 mile road loop, 5000ft to 6150ft, with a 6 mile, 3% average grade hill.

Speed: I was worried that the speed of the GPS would lag, but it updated as fast as the Cat Eye, and was more precise, since the Cat Eye only shows speed in increments of 0.5 mph above 20 mph.

Distance: The GPS recorded a distance of 33.32 miles, and the Cat Eye recorded 33.66 miles. I think that matching each other within 1/100 of a mile per mile is pretty amazing. On the open road (in NM roads can get pretty open), GPS accuracy was reported as 8ft to 10 ft - that's less than two bike lengths.

Elevation: The elevation seemed more or less accurate, and the curve drawn in the software is very smooth. The percent grade seemed very accurate, and matched percent grade that I calculated using TOPO! elevation profiles.
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Old 01-14-11, 01:51 PM
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Fwiw, I've ridden using my edge 500 w/s&c while my wife followed using a forerunner 305 with no sensor. Our data comes out almost spot on. We do not live in a mountainous region but we do ride through trees and overpasses.
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Old 01-14-11, 01:57 PM
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I always figure my front wheel, due to turns and stuff, rotates farther than I actually go. The Garmin samples every so often and misses the tiny corrections you make that a wheel sensor reads. But my Garmin and Sigma as very close, close enough that it really doesn't matter.

BTW, get a 305 or 500. You'll be happier in the end.
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Old 01-14-11, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl
That's kind of my rationale for not spending the extra for the cadence and HRM. I've calculated my cadence and HR now and then by counting cycles/beats, and I think I know where I am. That and not liking to put little things on my bike. That's one of my reasons for getting a GPS: no doohickey on the fork and no dohickey on the spokes.
So in that case, get the cheapest Garmin that'll serve your needs. You're already getting the benefits of the information, you're just getting the data itself in a different form. Precision doesn't matter all that much here ... 167 vs 163 bmp doesn't make a whole lot of difference. The plastic HRM around the chest tends to make me sweat a little more.

Don't hope for perfectly accurate data, though. My Garmin has shown me riding my bike from Seattle to China and back in the span of five minutes. I think I broke the sound barrier. This doesn't happen often, but it means this doesn't make for a reliable odometer. Also, it will record your lat/lon periodically, and you can look up the surface elevation for that point, but the databases aren't always perfect, either.

Finally, if Lynn Truss gets her way, you'll be hacked up on the spot and buried in an unmarked grave for putting an apostrophe in the wrong place.
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Old 01-14-11, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl
2. What I do want to do is go on a ride, and come home and create a map showing where I rode (like this). I realize that the 205 doesn't have a barometric altimeter, but I'm guessing that based on it's map data, it can give me the after-the-fact data on ascent and descent.
If this is all you want you don't need any kind of gps based bicycle computer. Just an old fashioned GPS that can be connected to a computer. Even a cheap gps logging device would work since you don't even need a display. Just an ability to download the track data. The computer/web site you upload it to can do the elevation based calculations for you...
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Old 01-14-11, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by myrridin
If this is all you want you don't need any kind of gps based bicycle computer. Just an old fashioned GPS that can be connected to a computer. Even a cheap gps logging device would work since you don't even need a display. Just an ability to download the track data. The computer/web site you upload it to can do the elevation based calculations for you...
Or your cell phone....
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